Statement from the Eastland Wood Council

16 MARCH 2023

Eastland Wood Council (EWC) is today providing an update on sector engagement with the panel charged with reviewing land-use practises, offering local solutions to local woody debris concerns in Tairāwhiti following recent catastrophic weather.

The review into past and current land-use practices and the impact of woody debris, including forestry slash and sediment, was announced by the Government last month, with the panel indicating they would be working with local sector groups including EWC to determine their findings.

EWC CEO Philip Hope says discussion amongst members in the past week, in advance of the next meeting with the panel, has brought to the fore a number of interesting options. These options aim to play a role in supporting forestry to withstand the increasingly common intense storm systems.

“For example, slash grapples are one way to move large quantities of woody debris in one go from skid sites and landings, reducing the quantity of woody debris that can mobilise in severe weather events.

“Local company, Ernslaw, has purchased one of these grapples and is trialling it currently.

“A wood pellet processing facility is another option that some of our members have put forward which may form part of the solution, however, there are some limitations including the amount of material that may be required and issues with transportation to market in an efficient and cost-effective manner. For this to work, there would need to be collaboration across the sector.”

“We are keen to talk various options through with the inquiry panel and find a way forward.”

Philip Hope says the industry is committed to improving forestry’s resilience in Tairāwhiti, which means ensuring that forestry practises behind the gate are working well and helping to shore up the highly erodible soil in the region.

“This is our home too, and we want to do the right thing. But we can’t do this alone. We need others to come together with us to collaborate on the best ways forward and for a full and wide-ranging assessment of land use across our region that is based on the best science and advice.

“We are committed to thinking outside the box and finding solutions to the woody debris issues. We support local solutions to this local problem, and we are stepping up as a sector to make sure we are part of the solution.

“We look forward to having a robust and productive conversation with the inquiry panel in the coming fortnight.”